Wednesday, April 27, 2011

How many figures?

I've begun work on the OOB for bull run by taking the official Fire & Fury scenario OOB as a template and working from that. The F&F scenario is in the 150 scale so I've been converting the number of stands to 200 scale, rounding up or down where necessary. It looks like I'll end up with about 83 infantry stands for the union and 71 infantry stands for the conferedates if I don't change much in the OOB's. Thats 154 stands of infantry in total. I've counted up my already painted stuff and I have about 75 infantry stands worth left to paint. Also, I'll have to rebase my old stuff once the litko bases arrive. So far, so good. The painting effort doesn't seem unreasonable. If I base the infantry stands to 10 models per stand it will total 750 infantry plus some scraps of artillery, cavalry and leader models I think it'll total about eight to nine evenings worth of intensive painting but hey, what else was I going to do this summer? Read War and Peace? (actually, yes).

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Work in progress for the map

Ok, here's where I'm at. This map is an amalgam of several maps on the area built on top of the wikipedia map. The grid squares are 40 cm * 40 cm and the table is 160 cm * 240 cm. The imperial scale people can do their own conversions like I have to do from inches and yards :)

I've also added some "cultivated land" in yellow, shich I intend to use to break the dull greenery of the grass mat if I find suitable material to do it cheap and fast. For bigger scales I would use this kind of rug to make fields but the strands are too high for 6mm. We'll see.

I'm a bit worried for my wallet when I look at the amount of woods present. If I want to make the woods look like something else than a dark green felt cloth with a couple of trees here and there I'll have to invest in a large amount of model trees. Also I still haven't figured out a way to do the streams so that it won't take a lifetime to do or look like arse.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Differing maps

Looks like the map on the Wikipedia page on Bull Run is somewhat different to some other maps out there. I did some digging and found some maps used in other games. This is the map from Take Command: Second Manassas I mentioned in an earlier post:

It has that nice elbow room I appreciate in a wargame. Looking at the Henry Hill area you can see that there are a lot more woods in that area than in the wikipedia map. Also, ingame, I could have a look at some nice 3d-representation of the terrain:

That's the only source I've seen with a stone wall on Henry House Hill. My version probably won't have one. This next map is from a Hex & Counter wargame, "Three Battles of Manassas". This is a good one:

In this map you het a better idea of the elevations. Also, the road behind Henry house is closer to the house in this one (as well as some other maps I've seen) than in the wiki. The area behind the hill is wooded and the elevations are more defined. Also, the wikipedia map didn't have Buck Hill, which looks like a feature that needs to be on my map.

I've also been looking at the Bull Run scenario from the Fire and Fury scenario book and maps on a book called "Maps of first Bull Run". Ive also done some measurement checks on Google Earth on some of the hotspots still on the field to make sure everything keeps on the proper place. I suppose I now have enough reference to build by own map on the field. I'm in the process of editing the wikipedia map to reflect all my sources and fit a wargame better. It's not ready yet so I wont show it. The table will be 160 cm * 240 cm though, so I'll be able to fit it on two citadel grassmats.

Also, Litko sent me a mail that my order is now done. I hope I'll get the bases in a couple of weeks. I've already undercoated a bunch of fresh union troops and I'll start painting them after I finish one 28mm piece I'm working on. I still haven't replaced my broken camera with a new one, so no miniature pics for you until I do!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Meanwhile in the napoleonic times..

Me and Simo played a game of Commands & Colors: Napoleonics yesterday. The scenario we played was the first in the scenario book, the battle of Rolica. The scenario pits an Anglo-Portuguese army against the french defending a long ridge. The allied army has two victory locations on both french flanks and superior numbers to throw against the defenders.

The match began with the portuguese marching forward on the french flank, only to have their cavalry wiped out by their french counterparts. The french started to chip away at the portuguese while the british advanced on the other flank and managed to drive away the french from the hill. Nothing significant happened at the center as any brits advancing to french musketry range suffered heavy casualties and were forced back. In the end, the french managed to wipe out all the portuguese units and expose the british right flank while having to refuse their own right flank because of casualties. The french won the game 5-2 but the defending units on the right flank were in very bad condition.

C&C: Napoleonics certainly is a worthy addition to the series. There's a lot more to think about than in Battlecry or Memoir, which I like. I can't remember enough of the one game of Ancients I've played to make comparisons. There's a benefit of keeping your infantry in long lines (they can ignore retreats when supported) and  form squares against cavalry. Attackers are at a disadvantage when advancing to enemy musketry range but charging infantry has the edge against defenders. There were a couple of weird things I noted though. The first is that light infantry is more effective at musketry than line infantry. They roll +1 die more than line infantry, so when going muzzle to muzzle with line infantry, the jägers are expected to win. The second oddity is that cavalry is more difficult to hit with musketry than infantry since the average hit die has one cavalry hit symbol and two infantry symbols. You'd think this was the other way around.

Anyways, the C&C series is the arcade section of wargaming so whining about realism is pointless. I CAN however whine about the choice to print the name of the game in the middle of the board again. Why do you keep doing that, mr. Borg? It's a real immersion killer. 

Friday, April 15, 2011


Ah, it seems the anniversary year began already. The attack on Fort Sumter started 150 years and a couple of days ago. My Fire and Fury bases are still at Litko in "in production" status. I better start painting my figures without the bases if I want to avoid a painting rush.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Some background research

A kindly person from the Baccus forums lent me a look at the Bull Run scenario from the Eastern Battles scenario book, many thanks! It's a good basis from which to start developing my own version of the scenario. The "official" scenario is designed for the 150 scale which means there are 1/4 more stands in the brigades and the groundscale is 1/4 larger than what I'm going to use. Conversions should be easy enough. Looking at the map I see the designers have bent the real locations of things a bit to fit the scenario. I suppose it's ok if it fits the table better while still keeping to history. Also, I see there are some details of the battlefield which are different with different maps I see. For example, the wikipedia map I looked at doesn't have woods on the southern half of Henry House Hill, whereas many other sources do. This is an important detail I'll have to look into. I will be double checking the terrain and OOB from any sources I can lay my hands on. One promising source I found was this blog with some digitized old records of the war. It's the first source of manpower information of the brigades I've come across.

A bit of a lazy man's source, I'm also in possession of a civil war PC game from a few years back, Take Command: Second Manassas. It's a sequel to a game which had the battle of Bull Run, but which is no longer available. The modding community for TC2M has been active however, and has ported the Bull Run scenarios of the previous game into the second. I can take a look at the well researched information on regimental level strengths of the combatants in these scenarios as well as see a 3D implementation of the battlefield, which'll give me a good idea on what the terrain on the tabletop version of the battle should look like. TC2M is the game which got me interested in the American Civil War for wargaming in the first place. It's still a good game (verified yesterday) and you can get it for dirt cheap on Steam. Also, take a look at the successor for the game, Scourge of war: Gettysburg, which improves on the recipe by adding multiplayer. And no, I'm not getting paid for this advertising.  

I'll end with a holiday snapshot from a Pickett's charge scenario from SOWGB.